As a result Rachel’s extensive lobbying efforts, the long-awaited improvements at the Alexandra Hospital will begin next year, the Health Secretary has confirmed.

On October 16th, it was announced that Rachel had successfully secured the additional funding hospital bosses needed to submit a business case for improvement works at the Alexandra Hospital.

Following meetings with the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust last month, it emerged that, as a result of increased costs from contractors, the £29.6million awarded to the Trust in 2017 would no longer cover the cost of planned improvement works at the Alex.

The Trust was awarded this funding by the government in 2017 to implement the plans outlined in the Future of Acute Services Review in Worcestershire.

Watch Rachel’s question to the Health Secretary on improvements at the Alex.

Since then, Rachel has secured £16 million from this funding pot which has been used to build a link bridge at Worcestershire Royal Hospital and to refurb the Aconbury East Building which created a 28-bed ward. This funding was also spent on several emergency projects, including improving the safety of the Trust’s estate to enhance the quality of patient services.

The Alexandra Hospital hasn’t yet received any funding from the £29.6 million. This money will be spent on improvements to the elective care centre, endoscopy, children’s outpatients and an upgrade in theatres.

After discovering this funding would no longer cover the costs of works at the Alex due to inflationary pressures, Rachel lobbied the Health & Social Secretary, Matt Hancock, to increase the capital funding the Trust needs from £29.6 million to £31.9 million.

Earlier this month, it was confirmed Rachel secured the additional funding the Trust needed after the Secretary of State agreed that his Department will provide additional capital funding to ensure the Trust can deliver the improvements at the Alex to benefit local patients. The Trust will repay this capital funding to the Department in the coming years.

And following this announcement, during Health & Social Care Questions on Tuesday (October 29th), Rachel asked the Health Secretary when residents can expect to see shovels in the ground at the Alex.

Responding to Rachel’s question, Matt Hancock said: “We will see shovels in the ground, I very much hope, from next year.

“I pay tribute to my Honourable Friend, who has campaigned endlessly for these improvements to the hospital in Redditch. There is no better supporter of Redditch than her. She has badgered me endlessly, met me formally and bumped into me on the campaign. Every time I see her, she says, “Can we have the improvement to the hospital?” and the answer is yes.”

Rachel added: “Hopefully my constituents know by now that the Alex has been and always will be my top priority. I promised to get these improvements at the Alex and I have delivered on this promise.

“Our town’s hospital has a bright future ahead of it and I will continue to campaign to get services back at the Alex.”